tv Sanjay Gupta MD CNN December 4, 2011 7:30am-8:00am EST
i'll be break at the top of the hour with you with more live news as cnn continues. good morning and welcome to "sgmd." we marked world aids day. it's time for us to unite in the fight against hiv. nearly a quarter of americans with hiv/aids have the disease under control. we'll show you the struggle and a man who may have been cured of aids. also, restaurant playgrounds that are also breeding disease. tomatoes put to the test. we've got shocking facts about this shiny red fruit. years ago there was an ominous report from the cdc. five men in los angeles with a mysterious new disease. all five eventually died, and all they had in common was a trashed immune system. they didn't know each other. they had no apparent connection. we now know they had aids. since then, it's killed nearly 30 million people.
34 million more are living with hiv. that's the virus that causes aids. more than a million of them are in this country alone. this week i was part of an event to raise awareness and try to better fight back against hiv and aids. the beginning of the end of aids, i like the way that sounds. i like the way that sounds when i first heard it. i like the idea that while some problem in d.c. seem at times too big, this devastating disease we can tackle. we can put hiv/aids on the run so to speak. the beginning of the end of aids is something that allows us to stand at that most perfect union of audacity and achieve ability. think about what is audacious, what is achievable. that intersection, that's where we want to be. the organizations one and red have laid out three goals to hit by 2015. and they are ambitious. number one, eliminate mother-to-child transmission of the virus. number two, to have 15 million
people treated by 2015. and number three, keep coming up with new ways to stop spreading the infection. no doubt, in a lot of ways we're in better shape than we were 30 years ago. we know what causes aids, and we have medicines to treat it to a point. i've been shown over and over, do not be fooled. still, each day nearly 7,000 people worldwide are newly infected with hiv. and in 2011, in one of the epicenters of the aids epidemic here in the united states, it still feels like 1981. for the last 18 years, angel vuchetich has gone to one of the largest aids building in the country. >> this is more like a hospital, we have clinics, all the aids service organizations are on site for support. >> it started as a small infectious disease clinic on the grounds of grady memorial
hospital, 25 years ago, when angelle was crafted with responding to the epidemic. >> we were crafted with a 100% terminal population. >> every patient you took care of died. >> every patient i took care of died. >> what was that like emotionally for you? >> the fact that these folks are dying does not scare me. the thing that was a challenge was i was told i wouldn't get anybody to work with me. >> at that time doctors still don't know how the disease was spreading. there was a lot of fear. what it other doctors, nurses in the hospital, how did they treat you? >> i was the aids nurse, most of them didn't. >> they wouldn't be around you? >> it was a pretty lonely existence. >> today they have over 5,200 patients. all in advanced stages of the disease. so what is this area right now where we're standing? >> well, this is treatment and holding. we do infusions, our pig part that's grow regular aids-related
malignan malignancies. >> they see 300 patients a month, 50 will need hospitalization. those affected has shifted from white gay to young good day american men. >> they're -- young gay men. >> they come in with t cells less than 25. they have infections that a lot of the medical community in the united states as well as the population that believes aids is in south africa. and we're in the southeast that to me looks like 1989. >> of that the frederick harris was diagnosed. >> i thought my life was over at the time. i was a drug user also. back then they didn't give you much time with it. >> the 49-year-old is heterosexual. he and his ex-wife who is also positive have a 16-year-old daughter. she's negative. harris used to take 20 pills a day. now he takes four. and he gets regular three-month
checkups. what is it about this place, this particular clinic that's so important for someone like you? >> the nurses and the doctors really seem concerned. they have a lot of programs to help you. you know with food and housing and all kinds of thing. you know, this place -- it givings ygives you practically everything you need. >> she calls it her medical home, one-stop shopping. her days filled with rounds and patient care. what is the biggest change since '81 when we first diagnosed the disease in this country? >> the biggest change is this is not an illness that should cause someone to die. >> harry is a 36-year-old gay man with full-blown aids. he doesn't upon hwant his ident revealed because he hasn't told his family. he was diagnosed three years ago at grady. his t cell count was 120. >> i thought people are going to see me in a different light now this i'm positive. his to get my personal feelings
out of the way because i knew i needed help. >> harry has a number of health problems, so the clinic has been a lifeline. >> it makes me feel good that i can talk to the doctor about stuff that is going on in my life and he is able to offer not only medicine but advice and give comfort. >> what is the hardest part of the job for you? >> there are 20-year-olds coming in here with advanced end-stage disease. that's despairing when i know that just shouldn't have to happen. >> but it is happening. on five floors this clinic. angelle has witnessed 25 years of suffering, of death, of dying. it's taken its toll. although she hasn't given up hope, she says she doesn't see an end in sight. how long will you do this job? >> i don't know. i'm not certain about that. >> for now she's committed to training the next generation of nurses. >> call if you need me. one man's story is giving
hope to many in the aids community and researchers, as well. in 2008 he was known simply as the berlin patient, whose hiv appeared to have been cured after undergoing cancer therapy. now a year ago in an article in the german magazine "stern," timothy ray brown revealed his identity and is speaking out as an advocate to try and find a cure for aids for everyone. he joins me from new york. first of all, thank you very much for joining us, timothy. as i said, i think -- it's a remarkable story. you were living in the german capital, 1995. you were diagnosed with hiv. you began taking anti-retro viral drugs to keep the virus in check. in 2006, you were told you have leukemia. a blood cancer. you had chemo, it failed. and you were told you needed a bone marrow transplant. i say all that to give people sort of the background on you to tell us what happened next. >> i got my blood tested for the stem cell transplant, and there were 233 donors which is a huge
number of donors for a transplant because it goes to a -- a world bank to look for donors. and some people don't even have any donors. >> so they're trying to find a donor for you, for your leukemia. and just to back up for a second, timothy. they also wanted to find a donor who might in fact have a mutation that was protective against hiv. a lot of people don't realize there is such a thing. they were trying to find bone marrow to treat your leukemia and protect you again hiv. is that right? >> yes, correct. >> because of your hiv, your immune system was already compromised. so what did it feel like, what did you have to go through? >> i had to have another round of chemotherapy and also a
full-body radiation treatment. >> you had been irradiated, received more chemo. you got this -- the transplant did go through. at what point did you -- what point did they come and say, look, this transplant worked as far as your leukemia goes specifically. was this a point where the doctor said, you know, timothy, we -- good news. we've had success here. >> they did feel that it was successful because my immune system had been replaced by the donor's immune system. and was able to start working again. and started going to the gym and working out and got into shape. >> this virus can hide. sometimes you don't know that it's hiding. in your case, they've look forward it, they can't find it. your control? mmune system is working. >> right. >> what does this -- your immune
system is working. >> right. >> what does this mean to people who hear your story and are inspired? what does this mean to them? >> it means that this is a case in point that the disease can be cure cured. i don't wish what i went through on my worst enemy. and -- but i'm hoping that can be done in a more simple way, that can be -- that can be translated to treat -- a cure for the entire world. all people that have hiv. >> so many scientists and doctors are still learning, as you know. we don't have a cure that's applicable at large. but again, i've been wanting to talk to you for some time. i'm glad you made time for us and hopefully science will continue to move forward and n part because of your
inspiration. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> thanks. up next, as a parent you won't want to miss this. fast food restaurant play areas, a breeding ground for bacteria like ones you would not believe until you see this. stay with us. progresso. it fits! fantastic! [ man ] pro-gresso they fit! okay-y... okay??? i've been eating progresso and now my favorite old jeans...fit. okay is there a woman i can talk to? [ male announcer ] progresso. 40 soups 100 calories or less.
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oh, my god. this place is disgusting. yeah, this is where you want your kids playing. >> you're listening to erin karr jordan there, a bacteria-fighting mom. she's doing something interesting. she's documenting the fifth she finds in fast food restaurant play areas. like me, she's concerned it her own kids' safety. erin, i met you back in october. you told me your story then. as a parent myself, i was so interested in what it is that you're doing. can you start by telling us what prompted you to start looking into these fast food restaurant play areas. >> right. well, my son had to use the restroom on the way to school. and i followed him in to the bathroom obviously. and then when we were leaving,
he asked if he could go down a slide in the establishment. i said, sure, of course. you know, any mom and their kid wants to go down a slide. immediately when we entered, we noticed that it was beyond disgusting. it was covered in black goo, this was -- so much stuff on the plexiglass that you couldn't see out the windows. there was large gashes in the slide. it was covered from head to noe gang tagging and profanity. ketchup had squirted on the wall and children's hair had gotten stuck in it. it smelled like urine and feces. after complaining over the course of a month, had they didn't take any corrective measures, i wondered how that could possibly be and why there wasn't anything that the health department could do about it. i started reaching out to establishments all over the state of arizona. and then i started looking all over the country to see if it was a pattern, and it is. >> when you -- what you're describing, that does sound disgusting, that play area that you're describing. really obvious that that one's filthy. what are you finding at other play areas? you've gone in and started
testing all sorts of different places, right? what are you seeing? >> we're seeing pretty consistently the same sorts of things. the bacterial counts are typically very, very high. they're in the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and in many cases, in the millions. and it's my understanding from the microbiologist with whom i have had conversations that anything in the hundreds is considered something that's at risk. and indicative of a place that's not being cleaned properly. >> you know, when you do this, you go into these restaurant, play areas. you described you're going around and swabbing. you're doing this on your own at your own expense, as well. what -- what is the response from the owners of the restaurants, the people around you? what do they tell you? >> you know, more people ask me now what i'm doing because more people have become familiar with the story. and it depends on the establishment. since there's no across-the-board standard, it depends on the establishment,
the manager, owner/operator. some are very receptive and say, thank you very much for telling us. others, you know, ban you. and -- >> have you been banned? >> yeah. i have from eight in arizona. >> is that right? they just -- they check your i.d. at the door and say you can't come in here? how does that work? >> i don't know because i haven't tried to go in. i was actually -- it was hand delivered to my front door. i returned from vacation -- >> really? >> it was a letter hand delivered to my door that indicated i was prohibited from entering the premises. >> i have kids. you have kids. what's the -- first of all, are there problem establishments? what am i to do as a parent about all of this? >> so i would say -- and this isn't where i started. i would say now, i would not take my child to an establishment that i wasn't 100% positive had a protocol in place for cleaning, including santization and disinfection and maintenance. that means that they're following guidelines set forth by the fda and cdc. and i would make sure that i was
reaching out to my legislators. and please, everybody, do this, say that you would support the bill. the kids play safe bill that would grant regulatory authority to health departments that says you can come in and inspect, and if there's a problem you can have them -- cease and desist or abatement order. they can be shut down if it is -- a continuous problem. >> i really appreciate your time. good luck. keep us posted. we'll have you back to talk about it. >> thank you very much, i appreciate it. from freaky play place bacteria to some pretty freaky fruit, as well. my next guest says modern industrial agriculture is destroying our most alluring fruits, the tomato. honey, i love you... oh my gosh, oh my gosh.. look at these big pieces of potato. ♪ what's that? big piece of potato. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. but for some of us with overactive bladder, our pipes just don't work as well as they should. sometimes, i worry my pipes might leak.
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journalist barry esterbrook traces how today's tomato went from vine ripened to gas ripened in in your new book, "tomato land." it is a fascinating read. you pick tomatoes off the vines when they are ripe. >> that's what you're supposed to do. >> what's gas ripening? >> in the florida tomato industry which is where the vast majority of our winter tomatoes come from, they're pick green. the hint of pink is taboo. >> because they want to let it ripen off the vine? >> they don't want to let it ripen off the vine. they take these green tomatoes and expose them to ethylene gas and the tomatoes will -- they don't get ripe but they obligingly turn the right color. >> this is like a hardball, by the way. >> oh, yeah. >> that's an anecdote from your book. you follow about following a tomato truck and tomatoes are falling off the truck. what did you see happening? >> it was in southwestern florida several years ago.
i was going along the interstate behind this truck loaded -- it was an open top truck loaded with -- mounded over with green tomatoes. it hit a bump and three or four of them flew off the truck and narrowly missed my windshield. i pulled over and i slowed down. they missed my windshield, they hit the interstate highway, they bounced -- >> tomatoes. >> they bounced, and they rolled off into the shoulder and they didn't splatter. i couldn't see that they cracked. >> so you -- these are literally -- they're nearly indestructible tomatoes. that's not the way a tomato -- is that what farmers want, indestructible tomatoes? >> well, this is what big growers want. this is what big supermarkets want. this is what fast food restaurants want. it is not what you and i want. it is not what the consumer wants. these tomatoes are -- the factory tomatoes, the supermarket tomato, is primarily grown for yield. lots of tomatoes. one farmer said to me, i don't get paid a cent for taste. i get paid per pound.
so this is what they've been growing these things for, breeding for the last several decades. what it results in is -- >> when you look outside, you can see the difference. >> right. here's a local farm-grown tomato right here. and here's one from the supermarket. you see how this is -- see all that tough tissue there? that really lacks flavor. it is very bland. the good stuff, the acids which give tomatoes -- >> the mushy stuff. >> the mushy area. so you're getting lots of support but no -- no good flavor thing. here's the farm tomatoes. it's just been sliced and it is already falling apart with the juice coming out of it and that's where your flavor is. >> fascinating. i will never look at a tomato the same way again. >> they're wonderful things to have when they're ripe and when they're from -- i say the best tomato is the one that grows closest to your kitchen counter. >> i love that. barry, thanks so much. good luck with the book.
a lot of us do want to eat better and get in better shape as well. here's your chance now. the 2012 cnn "fit nation challenge." we've already gotten some pretty great submissions but we are looking for you. you might be tired of making excuses about your health. that sound familiar? if so, logon to cnn.com/sanjay and submit a two to three-minute video about why you should be part of next year's six-pack. if you're selected, we'll give you everything you need to compete in the malibu triathlon, along with six months of training, including three all-expense paid training trips. we'll all race together, we're going do this together. it is going to be in malibu next september. still ahead for us now this morning, is this the future of friendship? i'm going to introduce you to a robot whose name is data. i'll have more awkward conversations than i'm equipped for because i'm raising two girls on my own. i'll worry about the economy more than a few times before they're grown. but it's for them,
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someone who makes robots that can interact with people in a human way. >> roll film, then roll up on the count of five. one, two, three, four, five. good. >> people have spent entire careers, like lifetimes, thinking about what gesture means. so as we explore this realm of social robotics for the first time, i believe that collaborating with performers and with different artists can actually help us bootstrap the development and creation of these technologies. >> and arms down. there you go. excellent. >> you can see much more with heather knight and a robot sidekick data. sunday, "the next list," 2:00 p.m. eastern right he on cnn. that wraps things up for "sgmd" this morning. stay connected with me throughout the week on my life stream at cnn.com/sanjay, you can also join the conversation